25 People Recall The Strangest Money-Saving Strategies Of Their Cheap Parents

Published 1 month ago

In the vast expanse of social media, where connections are formed through shared experiences, a poignant and eye-opening trend emerged from an unexpected question. A Reddit user recently posed a query that dug deep into the experiences of those who grew up in financially strained households: “Children of cheapskates, what are some of the heartbreaking things your parent/s have done to make ends meet?”

It opened up a thread of many unspoken struggles faced by individuals whose parents navigated the challenges of providing for their families on a tight budget. Scroll below to read some of the answers.

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Image source: thatonegirl127, Nicole Michalou

Mom would date richer guys around the holidays so we could have Christmas presents to open.


Image source: hhudsontaylor, Juliana Malta

I’ve been getting re-gifted present for Christmas since I was a kid. And not like presents from other people that were then given to me. No. We’re talking my favorite jacket goes missing for 6 months only to be found under the tree as one of my presents. Just had my 30th birthday- gifted a Swiss Army knife I had when I was a kid.


Image source: Moorycc, Marcelo Moreira

My mother tried to convince ticket seller that I was 6 years old (actually 12) and my brother 12 years old (actually 19) to save 6 bucks for a hop in hop off bus ticket. Needless to say my mother did not get the reduced price. Especially because of the reason my brother was smoking a cigarette.


Image source: anon, 251Cane

I got a Twinkie with a candle instead of a birthday cake one year.


Image source: anon, https://unsplash.com/photos/a-man-pumping-gas-into-his-car-at-a-gas-station-0aJOTBQfEFE

My father would drive literally across town, several miles out of the way to save 2 or 3 cents per gallon of gas.

He would also drive 60 miles to the casinos for a “free” meal but was too cheap to go a restaurant and buy one.


My mom would (and still does) strategically pick a fight with me 2 days before my birthday giving her the perfect excuse not to buy me a gift.

Image source: THEsaneasylum


My dad wouldn’t let us eat on Sundays, we had to fill up on free samples from Sam’s Club. It was humiliating. He isn’t even hurting for money, he’s just selfish with it and spends hundreds on himself (computer parts, games, in-game purchasing.. Ect)

Image source: criket13


My dad always refused to buy me a fish supper from the chip shop. Said it cost too much, and I could have fritters instead. Not really a big deal. Until a stray cat moves in to his house, he decides to keep it, and regularly treats it to fish suppers.

EDIT: My Dad and I regularly joke about this now. He says I was a fussy eater and would have never ate a fish supper. I make up for it by drinking all his beer when I visit him now.

Image source: gabdmm


When my dad moved into his house, he had a guy come over to do a free demonstration for a water filter that goes under a sink. The guy used a bar of soap for his demonstration and left it when he was done. My dad called at least 4 other companies for a free demonstration just to keep the free bar of soap, and never intended to have a water filter installed.

He does things like this, and it gets worse as he gets older. But I just let him do his thing.

Image source: anon


When I was 15, my father was out of a job and we relied on welfare and Medicaid. I had braces outfitted by an orthodontist who has practiced since the 1940s. My braces were an eccentric old-fashioned type. No headgear, but weird brackets. A year later, my father got hired and stopped Medicaid. He wasn’t happy with the expense to maintain my braces, and took me to another orthodontist. While the orthodontist examined me, my father complained how much more expensive the other doctor was. He said this loudly. The reception could hear us. The orthodontist was confused by my brackets. He said he’d never seen brackets like mine before. My father went on about the cost. The orthodontist felt he wasn’t comfortable giving me new brackets without understanding how mine were functioning already. My father wouldn’t have it. The cost! The cost! The orthodontist had enough. He lectured my father that he should consider my safety above all else. My father quieted down after. It was embarrassing to have a doctor tell my father my safety was more important than saving a few bucks.

Image source: la-noche-viene


Image source: lendonen, chudesabyvaut

Parents would pick a place when going out that had some sort of “Kids under X years old are free” and I had to be 3-4 years younger than I am for the day


someday my kids will be in this post, talking about their old cheapskate mom lol, I make my own laundry soap.. can make 8 gallons for like $2.50 a batch…. when my bath towels get holes, I cut them up and use them in the kitchen…. buy meats on clearance. when they are on the last day they can be sold… yep, my kids will be traumatized

Image source: JohnDeereWife


When I was a child my grandparents had an apartment at the seaside and every summer we would go to spend a month there, meeting other families that were coming on vacation from all around the country. My parents became friends with a couple, they had two children and the eldest girl was my age.

Probably due to the husband having gambling problems in his youth, the wife was the worst cheapskate I’ve ever met, even if they had a pretty generous income.

When we were out of the house, the husband was “in control” of the finances, being the main bread-winner of the family. So we would go to the restaurant all together, eat fish, spend the equivalent of 50 Euros per person (we didn’t have Euros back then) and he’d have no problem putting out this amount of money.

In the house, though, the wife was the queen. So they’d have no hand soap in the bathroom, because it was a waste of money. When I was visiting, she would get a jar of Nutella from the top drawer and spread the tiniest amount of it in an almost invisible film on the cheapest bread. Her children’s faces told me that when they had no guests, the Nutella would not even come out of that drawer.

The pinnacle was when one time they invited us at their place for dinner and they served a main course of… ONE PIGEON for 4 adults and 3 kids.

My parents’ response, as a good Italian family, was simply inviting them to dinner for the next week and preparing a f*****g huge and delicious dinner. They willingly exaggerated the size of the dinner, we ate leftovers for days.

I’m friends with their son and daughter on Facebook. He still is the golden child (good guy, did nothing wrong, but their parents always preferred him to his sister), she got out of home and is working in beautiful beaches in summer, and ski schools in winter, all around Europe. Good for her.

EDIT: for all the “wtf pigeon meat” comments: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squab_as_food

Image source: avlas


Image source: OGpoobandit

my mom used to tell me that peanut butter and tortillas are what jesus ate


My parents don’t understand the “invest a few more dollars for a much better quality product” thing, so when I was in high school or just starting uni and they bought me clothing, it would be a $20 pair of jeans from JayJays that would last just a few weeks because of thunder thighs wearing them down as I wore them daily, and then we’d have to buy another pair. They’d buy one pair of $5 shoes from Kmart because they were the cheapest, but they were also the most uncomfortable and – again – I’d wear them on a daily basis so they wore down within a month and we had to buy more.

I’m in my early 20s now and teaching myself the concept of “bigger price tag is better quality” – I bought myself a pair of Dr Martens in 2015, and my parents almost fell out of their chairs when I said they cost $180. Except I’ve worn them practically every single day since I bought them – whether to uni or work (hospitality), and they’re still solid and in good shape. Best investment of my life tbh.

(Edit:) yes yes yes, I know, *a bigger price tag doesn’t always mean better quality*. I mean this in terms of what I have talked about in this post – good quality, comfortable shoes and clothing.

Image source: myrightboobisbigger


Image source: lyrajayviolet, Vladislav Glukhotko

My ex step-mother was like every Disney step mother ever. She was loaded but was super stingy, when we all stayed at her house she made my dad bring our own food every time. One time we forgot, and she fed us 65c tinned tomatoes.


Image source: sarahzaza, Mati Mango

When dial up came out we got a free months trial CD. We used it for almost 10 years by frequently setting the date back on the computer.


Image source: Linmios, Marko Blažević

My dad returned a video game i got on my bday so he could buy it cheaper from the middle east (there was arabic language option). So after playing a little bit on my birthday i had to wait another week until it was delivered.


Image source: doublestitch, Erik Mclean

My mother put strict rations on toilet paper.

Yes, she was an a*****e.


When my parents had the family home refurbished, Pa would carefully extract the nails from the ripped-out woodwork with a claw hammer, and then hammer them straight again and put them in tins for re-use along with unused nails.

For years afterwards, every third or fourth nail you used from his workshop would bend like a banana on first wallop from a hammer and you’d hit your thumb.

Image source: MisterShine


Image source: inglesina, Mitchell Johnson

My mum would wait up to an hour for the bus that cost 5 pence less. She lived in a house worth nearly a million pounds.


Image source: rightinthedome, Nikola Markelov

My dad would always go under the speed limit on the highway. Going around 80-90kph maximized fuel efficiency so that’s how fast he would go.

We also drove a car until it was literally falling apart from rust. Had about 400k kilometres on it and just about everything was breaking or had broken. Constant check engine light, bad breaks, no horn or emergency break. It took a cop pulling him over and deeming the car non roadworthy.


Image source: anon, mk. s

Share bathwater. My brother would get in first, then me and then mum or dad would be last. It’s pretty gross thinking about it now but at the time my parents did it to save money on the water bill and gas bill because they were on really low incomes.


My grandma would try and buy me second hand underwear from value village.. put a stop to that pretty quick.

Image source: anon


Ex-wife was a frugal spender and always tried to save money or make extra money where she could. After our divorce, my family would still gift our children clothes on the holidays and their birthdays, until I found her selling the clothes on Craigslist and then go to the goodwill to get cheaper clothes for them.

Now my family makes sure I get the clothes. They go stay with her with what they were sent with.

Image source: Its_puma_time

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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bad parents, cheap parents, Children of cheapskates, frugal parents, ridiculous things cheap parents did
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